Some older people today have to go to nursing homes because they cannot afford care at home. The Federal Council now wants to change that.
Most older people would like to live in their own four walls for as long as possible. But when they become more fragile, they need professional support. But not everyone can afford them. Because the supplementary benefits to AHV, EL for short, finance care at home, but only to a small extent for care. The Federal Council now wants to change that so that people with little money can also grow old at home. The draft law for this is in the consultation process.
What are supplementary benefits to the OASI?
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The supplementary benefits to the AHV, or EL for short, were introduced in 1966 because the AHV pensions were not sufficient to secure a living even then. They are aimed at households whose income and assets are not sufficient to finance a modest living.
The EL serve two different purposes:
They support people of retirement age with low incomes. These are usually people who already have a low income when they retire. They support people with high expenses, which are mainly older people who are looked after and cared for in nursing homes. Because a place in a nursing home quickly costs 90,000 francs a year.
Carlo Buttonl, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, welcomes the Federal Council’s proposal. Because the current system means that “fragile older people with a small budget either have to move to a nursing home or somehow get by at home”. But those are the people you meet as lonely, neglected people. The absurd thing about it: the EL pay for the place in a nursing home, but not the often much cheaper care at home.
Better at home than in a nursing home
Hedy Zinke proudly shows her garden. Here she can plant whatever she wants, says the 88-year-old from Lucerne: “Nobody talks to me here, I’m my own master.” She has lived here for 18 years. Even then, she persuaded her daughter to look at a nursing home room, but the room was so small: “The nurses were nice, but I wouldn’t have spent most of my time with them, but in the small room.”
Legend: Hedy Zinke in her beloved garden. Nora Meuli
At home, on the other hand, she has a lot of space. But she does need help: Spitex care comes by twice a day, for which she gets an additional EL. Her food is delivered once a day, cleaning is done once a week, and she wears an emergency call button on her arm so she can call someone if she falls. That happens again and again.
From time to time she allows herself to be accompanied on an excursion, but it all costs money. She can either pay for it from the money that is actually earmarked for her other basic needs, or ask for support from foundations.
The Federal Council’s proposal should also relieve nursing homes
The Federal Council now wants to support them and all other EL recipients. The goal is not only to increase the autonomy of the elderly, but also to relieve the nursing homes.
According to the Federal Council, the EL should take over the following services
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The following benefits should be taken into account as part of the reimbursement of illness and disability costs through the supplementary benefits (EL):
an emergency call system, household help, meal service, driving and accompanying services, the adaptation of the apartment to the needs of the elderly, a rent supplement for an apartment suitable for the elderly
From the media release of the Federal Council.
Because at the moment there are people living in nursing homes who could actually also be supported at home: around a third of nursing home residents primarily need care and only a little care, which Spitex could also provide and would be cheaper.
The Federal Council estimates that the 2030 proposal would cost between CHF 200 and 500 million, but the cantons could also save an estimated CHF 280 million. That is why the cantons should also bear most of the costs. They won’t comment on it until next week.
The only solution is to support people to live independently at home.
Another reason is that there will be too few nursing home places in the future. If around 14 percent of those over 80 live in nursing homes, then by 2040 more than 900 nursing homes with thousands of places would be needed. That won’t work, says Carlo Hakenl: “The only solution is to help people live independently at home.”
This is in the spirit of Hedy Zinke. She would then no longer have to worry about how to pay for her care.
Do you or your elderly relative need support?
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The regional offices of For old age advise you for free. You can make an appointment on the following number: 058 591 15 15